After five years and more than 200 reviews, Jay Cheshes announced today that he’ll be stepping down from his post as the Time Out NY restaurant critic. In a lovely essay looking back on his run as one of the city’s arbiters of taste, he charts the evolution of the New York restaurant scene in that time, taking stock of the rise of Brooklyn’s culinary cachet, the mania for ramen, and the increasing prevalence of the David Chang–brand “rock & roll aesthetic.”
He also reminisces about his five-star reviews—the maximum TONY rating—over the years, including ABC Kitchen, Eleven Madison Park, and the NoMad. And he steps out with a bang: His final review is another five-spot, this time for the nouveau red-sauce joint Carbone:
The new spot, from tag-team chefs Rich Torrisi and Mario Carbone, is a Godfather hangout on steroids, more fantastical set piece than history-bound throwback. Like Torrisi and Parm, their earlier projects together, it’s a hyped-up spin on a vanishing form, a restaurant where, bread sticks to bowties, everything looks, tastes and feels like much more of itself.
Heat rock—you’ll be be missed, Jay! A new critic has yet to be named, but TONY Food & Drink editor Mari Uyehara did drop some exciting news via Twitter:
Former TONY Food & Drink editrix @jordanarothman will lend a hand as interim restaurant critic until we announce a permanent replacement.
— Mari Uyehara (@fedification) April 16, 2013
If you’re familiar with Ms. Rothman’s work on First We Feast and elsewhere, you know that these, too, will be reviews to look forward to each week.